Celebrating the Life of Sister Anne Wasco
Everyone at St. Rose is saddened by the news that Sister Anne Wasco – one of the seven founding Sisters of what was St. Rose of Lima Hospital back in 1947 – has passed away. Sister Anne was 91 years old and in the 69th year of her religious profession in the Adrian Dominican congregation when she died September 29 at the Dominican Life Center. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Adrian Dominican congregation this week as they celebrate Sister Anne’s life.
Sister Anne was the last of the seven founding mothers of St. Rose of Lima Hospital in Henderson and was noted for the Angel Bread she baked for hospital patients. The story of her Angel Bread began when a patient, who was very hungry, tasted Sister’s bread. He said, “Oh Angel. You have a gold mine right here. Put this bread on the market and you’ll make money.”
The Sisters were too busy at the hospital to make the bread commercially, so after his stay, the patient returned to the hospital with local and national bakery representatives who learned Sister Anne’s recipe. Bakeries began making Angel Bread and gave a share of the profits to Rose de Lima. By 1957, approximately 600,000 loaves of Angel Bread were being sold in states as far away as Minnesota.
Sister Anne found humor in her efforts to improve the bread. Another Sister had told her “you don’t have to bake bread.” Sister Anne thought the comment meant she didn’t have to take on additional responsibility when, in fact, it turned out the other Sister meant the bread wasn’t very good. Her diligence obviously resulted in a very popular recipe.
In 1998, Carol Bower, the wife of St. Rose’s former medical director, Dr. Joel Bower, wrote a short story about Angel Bread and read it to the children in elementary schools in Henderson. The booklet had special significance to them because they had participated in an art contest with the winning pictures being used to illustrate the story of Sister’s Angel Bread.
Many long-term St. Rose employees still talk about the privilege of knowing Sister Anne. In her passing, we celebrate her life and how she influenced our ministry and the health of our community. We feel blessed that Henderson was her home for several years.